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Old 06-21-2011, 01:55 PM   #1
Blueskew
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Default Three Points of Failure

Hi guys. I had a weird night brewing last night where I either screwed up or tried new things three times and I'm wondering if someone can tell me what I have going on here. I'm just doing a light cream ale that I've done before and I have an oatmeal-like cake forming at the top during primary after about 8 hours. I've never seen a buildup like this when I've brewed in the past.

1) I was using a new uncalibrated thermometer and I seem to have mashed in at closer to 175 than 165 which causes obvious problems. I lowered the temp as quickly as I could by stirring and adding cool water, but it took a little while to drop temp.

2) The yeast packets were a bit suspect as the wyeast bags were slightly more inflated than normal. When I broke the nutrient packs, though, they did seem to inflate per normal, so I don't think that this was a bad yeast issue.

3) Finally, I used a whirlfloc tablet (and yeast nutrients) for the first time ever and I don't know how Irish Moss behaves in the kettle or in primary.

Does anyone have any advice? Is this an infection? Or is this some kind of normal looking behavior?

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Old 06-21-2011, 02:17 PM   #2
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It doesn't look normal to me, but that doesn't mean anything is wrong. Just keep an eye on the mass at the top, if it grows its probably infected. But it could just be cold break. I've not seen it look like that before, but who knows?

It will probably turn out fine.

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Old 06-21-2011, 02:32 PM   #3
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Looks like break to me. Doubt you'd see signs of infection after only 8 hours.

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Old 06-21-2011, 02:35 PM   #4
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How much whirfloc did you use?

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Old 06-21-2011, 02:59 PM   #5
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Looks like break to me. Doubt you'd see signs of infection after only 8 hours.
Yeah, it looks like big globs of cold break material. It will settle down in the fermenter once fermentation stops and it'll become part of the trub.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:15 PM   #6
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Whirlfloc will surprise you on your first use. Depending on what grains you were using and yeast activity it can kick up a weird mess of things in your fermenter. Usually for me the break settles out quickly, in your case it looks like the break kicked up.

Nice photo btw.

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Old 06-21-2011, 03:41 PM   #7
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Happyvdubber,

Just one tablet.

Everyone,

Ok, thanks for the heads up about the cold break. I don't know why, but I've never gotten cold break before. Or at least I've never seen it kick up like this so I was concerned that I did something else wrong or that I might be making alcoholic oatmeal.

Best,

Blue

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Old 06-21-2011, 03:55 PM   #8
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I see this all the time with lagers mostly. I believe its yeast clumping up

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Old 06-21-2011, 04:32 PM   #9
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Yeah, it looks like big globs of cold break material. It will settle down in the fermenter once fermentation stops and it'll become part of the trub.
this
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:42 PM   #10
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Happyvdubber,

Just one tablet.

Everyone,

Ok, thanks for the heads up about the cold break. I don't know why, but I've never gotten cold break before. Or at least I've never seen it kick up like this so I was concerned that I did something else wrong or that I might be making alcoholic oatmeal.

Best,

Blue
Blue,

I've read two items of note when using whirfloc, both can attribute to the "fluffy" break material you've pictured.

1 - Over use. A single tablet is suitable for up to 10 gallons (some even say 20). Assuming we're looking at a 5gal batch of beer, consider 1/2 tablet on next batch.

2 - Whirfloc addition was made too early. Some say a 15 minute addition is to soon. Recommend a 5 or 10 minute addition.

Either way, I am almost positive we're looking at a side effect of whirfloc, but the good news I don't think it would have any impact on the final product.
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